How to Become a Top Student While Sleeping 8 Hours a Night
Students today are busy. Really busy. They have homework to do, projects to complete, extra classes to attend, and other responsibilities to fulfill. In this article, I’ll share with you the 11 tips to become a top student who slept eight hours a night. So as you implement the tips and techniques outlined in this article, I’m confident that you’ll make progress toward becoming a top student. But more than that, you’ll become a student who’s equipped with advanced self-management skills. Wishing you all the best on this exciting journey!
- Make sleep and exercise a priority.
- Write everything down.
- Stick to a routine.
- Stay motivated using practical strategies.
- Learn to say “no.”
- Keep up with the work
- Focus on achieving progress, not perfection.
- Categorize your friends and decide how much time to spend with each group.
- Work on one task at a time.
- Eliminate distractions.
- Create systems for staying organized.
Tip#1. Make sleep and exercise a priority.
If you’re not getting enough sleep and exercise, you probably won’t be a top student who’s focused and motivated. You’ll probably also fall sick more often.
So why is it that so many students don’t get sufficient sleep and exercise?
Is it because they don’t have time?
No, it’s because they simply haven’t made sleep and exercise a priority.
After all, no matter how busy we are, we always make time to eat and shower.
Decide that sleep and exercise are non-negotiables, just like eating and showering.
Don’t try to make too many changes at once. Start small, and make gradual progress.
Soon enough, you’ll be a better, happier, and healthier student!
Tip#2. Write everything down.
Your brain is a thinking tool, not a storage device.
Don’t trust your brain to store information like:
- Family events
- Homework or project due dates
- Miscellaneous tasks
- What homework has been assigned
- Test or exam dates
- Project meeting dates/times
- Ideas that pop into your head
So instead of relying on your memory, write it all down in an “everything” list. Use a notebook.
Here’s the system I recommend:
- Once a day, review your “everything” list.
Perform this daily review when you get back from school.
This is a process that takes just five to ten minutes a day, but it will save you a lot of stress.
- At the end of each day, plan for the following day.
Before you stop work for the day, review your “everything” list and calendar once more.
If there are any tasks you were not able to complete, make a note in your calendar about when you will complete them.
This way, you’ll ensure you don’t leave anything to the last minute.
- Every Sunday, review your upcoming events over the next two to three weeks.
Refer to your calendar every Sunday to see if there are any important events or dates to take note of, e.g., project due dates, tests, class presentations.
If necessary, make a note in your calendar about when you need to begin preparations for the event.
For example, if you have an important Maths test in two weeks, you might make a note to start studying for the test this coming Tuesday.
Tip#3. Stick to a routine.
Creating a weekly routine is one of the most important steps to becoming a top student who has a balanced life.
Follow these steps to create a weekly routine that works for you:
(a) Create events in your calendar for all of your fixed commitments, e.g., school, music classes, extracurricular, family events, religious activities.
(b) Looking at the remaining slots in your calendar, set aside time each day for homework and studying.
(c) Set aside time each day for going out with friends, relaxation, leisure, and so on.
At this point, your calendar will be filled with “fixed” appointments that will guide you as to how to spend your time.
Of course, these appointments may change once in a while. But by following what your calendar says you ought to be doing, you will have established a solid routine.
Tip#4. Stay motivated using practical strategies.
No matter how badly you want to become a top student, or how driven you are to reach your goals, or how badly you want to make your teachers proud . . . there will be times when you’ll feel unmotivated.
You’ll feel like lying in bed all day.
You’ll feel like doing anything except schoolwork.
You’ll feel like watching YouTube videos non-stop.
How do you stay motivated when you feel this way?
Try these practical strategies:
- Put up some motivational quotes.
- Reward yourself when you finish each task.
- Keep a list of the tasks you’ve completed to remind yourself that you’re making progress.
- Join a study group made up of motivated students. Their motivation will rub off on you.
- Visualize how you’ll feel when you finish the task you’re working on.
- Turn your schoolwork into a game. For example, you could give yourself five points for each task you complete, and give yourself a reward when you accumulate 20 points.
- Get enough sleep, because tiredness is linked to a lack of motivation.
Tip#5. Learn to say “no.”
They are students who are involved in many extracurricular activities: music, art, sports, enrichment classes, and more.
If there’s way too much on your plate, you won’t be able to be a top student who gets eight hours of sleep a night – no matter how efficient you are.
What’s the simple solution?
Learn to say “no.”
As you do this, here are some tips and guidelines:
- Develop a variety of ways of saying “no” politely, so you’ll be equipped for every situation.
Here are some examples:
- “I’m sorry, I’ve already made other plans.”
- “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that. Here’s what I can do instead . . .”
- “Thank you for thinking of me, but I’m sorry that I can’t make it.”
- “I’m sorry, those dates don’t work for me.”
- “I’d love to, but I’ve already made a commitment to help __________ (friend, family member, etc.) out.”
- “Thanks for the invitation, but I’ll have to pass.”
- “I appreciate you asking, but I apologize that I can’t help this time.”
- “I’m sorry, my schedule is really packed for the next month.”
- “That sounds like a great opportunity, but I’m sorry that it’s not suitable for me.”
Tip#6. Keep up with the work
If you want to be a top student who isn’t too stressed, then consistency is key.
- Skim through new topics before your teacher covers them in class.
- Complete your homework at least a day or two before it’s due.
These will give you a good idea as to what the topic is about, so you’ll be able to grasp the new concepts more quickly.
- Clarify your doubts right away.
If, during the review described above, you realize you don’t understand certain concepts, then write down all your questions on a sheet of paper.
As soon as you have a chance, clarify your doubts with your teacher.
Don’t wait until just before your next test or exam to do so, because that will result in unnecessary anxiety.
- Review any new information you learn later that same day.
For example, say that today you learned about respiration in biology class, trigonometry in maths class, and motion in science class.
Once you have time, look through your notes for each of those topics to check that you understand what was taught.
This will ensure that you don’t fall behind in any of your classes.
- Test yourself often.
After studying a topic, test yourself to see if you’ve memorized the relevant equations, definitions, concepts, and facts.
In addition, do as many practice questions as you can to ensure that you’ve mastered the topic.
Don’t assume that reading the chapter is the same as learning the chapter.
Reading is a necessary part of the learning process, but you must test yourself in order to master the information.
- Use online resources.
If your teacher’s explanation isn’t clear enough, you can always turn to the Internet.
- Attend every single class.
Do this even if you think your teacher is the most boring one in the entire world.
Because he or she understands the material far better than you, and knows which concepts are important and which aren’t.
By attending every class, you’ll prevent yourself from wasting precious time studying irrelevant information.
And no matter how your teacher is, you’ll still learn something during each class if you have a positive attitude.
- When it comes to projects, always have a plan.
Too often, students rush to complete a project a few days before it’s due. This leads to sleep deprivation and undone homework.
If you want to become a top student, this is a combination to avoid.
Many students leave project work to the last minute because they don’t plan ahead.
- Start your test preparation early.
In addition, I recommend that you periodically review the topics you’ve learned. That way you won’t need to cram for tests.
Before you begin studying for a particular test, be clear about which topics will be covered, how long the test will be, and what the test format will be.
With this knowledge, you’ll be able to focus on the topics and types of questions that are most likely to be asked.
Tip#7. Focus on achieving progress, not perfection.
A big reason why students get demotivated is they feel that they’re not making progress – or that they’re making progress too slowly.
Often, this is because students become fixated on the desired outcome, rather than on the process necessary to achieve that outcome.
On your journey to becoming a top student, you’ll face challenges and disappointments.
By setting process-based goals, you commit to things you can achieve no matter what the eventual outcome is. So you’re putting yourself in a position to succeed.
I’m not saying that the outcome doesn’t matter. But I am saying that the process is what counts in the long run.
So focus on making continual progress, and you’ll accomplish your goals over time.
Tip#8. Categorize your friends and decide how much time to spend with each group.
This might sound like a strange suggestion, but it will make it easier for you to say “no” to social engagements that would have otherwise overloaded your schedule.
After all, time is a finite resource. It’s impossible to frequently hang out with everyone you consider a friend.
So here’s how to implement this tip . . .
Categorize all your friends into the following four groups:
- Casual friends
- Close friends
- Best friends
Next, decide how often you’ll hang out with each group in general.
For me, it looked like this:
- Acquaintances – once every few months
- Casual friends – once a month
- Close friends – once every one to two weeks
- Best friends – once every few days
By being clear about how much time you’ll spend with each group of friends, you’ll be intentional about investing in the friendships that mean the most to you.
Tip#9. Work on one task at a time.
It takes time to get into the flow of an assignment, so finish one before moving on to the next.
In addition, eliminate all forms of multitasking.
No texting, watching TV while doing your schoolwork.
Research shows that multitasking just isn’t possible. When you think you’re multitasking, you’re actually just switching between tasks. This reduces your overall efficiency.
Tip#10. Eliminate distractions.
It’s not just the urge to multitask that hinders students from being productive. For many students, distractions are an even bigger problem.
Here’s a list of things you can do to eliminate or reduce common distractions:
- Reply to text messages only three times a day. Put this in your calendar as a series of mini-appointments.
- Turn off notifications on your phone.
- Mute your group chats.
- Archive all the inactive chats on your phone so they don’t clutter your messaging app’s home screen.
- Delete all the social media apps on your phone.
- Use headphones while you’re studying (even if there’s no music playing) so that others will be less likely to interrupt you.
- Use an extremely long password for your phone, so you won’t be tempted to use your phone mindlessly.
- Put your phone in another room when it’s time to do work.
- Tell the people around you when you’ll be doing your work. This way, they won’t interrupt you in the middle of your study session.
- Turn off your Internet access.
- Wear a watch so you don’t have to check your phone for the time.
- Do all of your schoolwork at your desk, not on your bed. As such, you won’t be tempted to laze around in bed.
- Close all unnecessary programs or tabs on your computer.
If you do all the things listed above, you’ll be much closer to becoming a top student.
But take it slowly.
Implement a few suggestions at a time until they become habits, then tackle a few more. Even one small change can make a big difference over the long term.
Tip#11. Create systems for staying organized.
Have you ever started studying for a test only to realize that you don’t know where the relevant notes and assignments are?
Or do you keep your papers in a pile, only to spend way too much time rummaging through it when you need to find an assignment?
Being disorganized is a huge time-waster. So here are some tips to help you stay organized when it comes to
(a) notes and assignments, and
(b) email: Notes and assignments
- Bring an accordion folder to school every day.
- Assign one section of the accordion folder to each of your subjects or courses. Assign one additional section to your incomplete homework.
As the school day goes by, place the notes and graded assignments you receive in their respective sections.
Place your incomplete homework across all subjects in the “incomplete homework” section.
- Get binders to be kept at home – one binder for each category of work for each subject.
For example, use one binder for your history notes, one for your history assignments, and one for your history tests and exams.
- Once a day, look through the “incomplete homework” section of your accordion folder.
Do this to make sure that you haven’t overlooked any homework that’s been assigned.
- Once a week, transfer all of your notes, graded assignments, etc. from your accordion folder to the respective binder.
If you do this consistently, you’ll realize if you’ve misplaced any notes or assignments. This way, you can get them replaced way before you need them to prepare for the next test.